Rationale for Using Nitrous Oxide in Pediatric Dentistry

  • Kunal Gupta
  • Priyanshi Ritwik


The thought of visiting a dentist is scary for children, which gets compounded with the sound and smell of a dental office. This thought finds its birth from casual talks of dental visit experiences by school friends, parents, grandparents, etc. When we accept and understand that the “fear of dentistry” is real, only then we will adopt means to overcome it. Recognizing a fearful child and understanding fear or anxiety, is the first step for successful administration of nitrous oxide in child patients. The main purpose of using nitrous oxide is to build a positive dental attitude and not to “heavily sedate” the child nor as a replacement for general anesthesia. Besides this, its indications and contraindications should be clear to a dentist treating children. Also, nitrous oxide has distinct advantages over other modes of sedation, which along with few disadvantages shall be discussed in this chapter.


Dental fear/anxiety Objectives of nitrous oxide Indications/contraindications of nitrous oxide Advantages/disadvantages of nitrous oxide Behavior guidance in children 

Supplementary material (167.7 mb)
Video 1.1 This video depicts how nitrous oxide inhalation sedation serves the purpose of building a positive dental attitude in children. A cooperative child was undergoing a simple procedure like oral prophylaxis and fluoride application. However, the child dislikes sensations in the mouth during prophylaxis and resists further procedure. On using nitrous oxide inhalation sedation, child becomes calm, relaxed, and allows the procedure to be completed without any interruptions. Also, on completion of procedure, child leaves the operatory on a positive note and thereafter, child always looks forward to visiting the dentist (MOV 171704 kb) (95.6 mb)
Video 1.2 This video clearly highlights the importance of using nitrous oxide while making impressions. Since nitrous oxide reduces gag reflex, impressions can be made easily even in a supine position as shown in this video (MOV 97872 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kunal Gupta
    • 1
  • Priyanshi Ritwik
    • 2
  1. 1.Children’s Dental CenterGurugramIndia
  2. 2.Department of Pediatric DentistryLSUHSC School of DentistryNew OrleansUSA

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